The Loss of a Good Friend

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The Farmers


We have just lost a good friend. Simon Farmer swept into our lives years ago one Sunday morning at Novena Church. We were late, as usual, and were scurrying to our customary spot on the left veranda when we saw a lady sitting on the floor surrounded by children. It was like a scene out of “The Sound of Music” movie. The lady was Mandie, Simon’s wife, with their kids, as well as our friends’ children.

So our circle of friends grew larger, as did the numbers for Sunday brunch, parties and get-togethers. Through all the celebrations, there is always that bright spark – Simon with his silly jokes and boisterous laughter. Simply said, he is a happy person. So joyful with life, spreading that happiness to whoever he’s with. He is clearly besotted with his wife, and dotes on his children, Anthony, Alicia and Elsa. A very loving family man indeed. Simon is obviously very successful in his work, but you’ve never guessed it from his humble and self-effacing demeanour.

A few years on, I was expanding my photography business and needed to build up my portfolio. So I asked Simon if he and his family would be some of my guinea-pigs. They were game.

I brought my photography and lighting equipment to Simon’s house which was already set up for the photography party. Together with one other family (the Gomezes), we had a hilarious time, with the Farmers and Gomezes happy to pose and prance to whatever’s required. Simon was particularly tickled when I got him and Mandie to pose for an American Gothic shot

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Simon was posted to other Asian nations like South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. The Farmers also returned to Singapore between one of the stints. In 2012, Simon wrote to inform us about his brain cancer. Jolly as ever, he spoke of what he had gone through, about his conquests against the ravages wrecked by the cancer monster – memory loss, language impairment and so on.

He came by our home for a visit just before Christmas 2012. Always cheerful, Simon’s spirits remained high. He seemed to be in top form too with his jokes. We planned to meet up again in the New Year when he is back with the girls – his wife and daughters. But that was not to be. The December visit was to be the last time we saw him. The Farmers sent news that they have decided to pack up their bags after so many years in Asia and return to England. More news came later, that the cancer had resurged its ugly head.

While we’ll miss his loud, lusty laugh, we are glad to have had him as a friend. We are definitely richer, for having been touched by his kindness, humility and joviality.

The  shots here were taken in 2005 of this wonderful man and his family. Looking at these still brings a smile to my face and some beautiful memories.




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